Posted inAutomotive repair

Tesla Has the Most Projected Lifetime Recalls, Mercedes and Toyota the Least

Summary

  • Tesla is the most-recalled brand, with the Y, 3, X, and S occupying 4 of the top 5 slots

  • Mercedes-Benz leads the least-recalled list, followed closely by Toyota and Lexus

  • 33 Models are projected to experience 1 or fewer recalls over their lifespan

  • 25 Models are projected to experience at least 10 recalls over their lifespan

  • The Tesla Model Y is projected to have 62 recalls over its lifespan

Nobody wanted to receive a recall notice, but in 2022 there were over 400 automotive recalls issued, impacting more than 25 million vehicles. The 2021 numbers were even higher: over 1,000 recalls involving over 35 million vehicles. Cars, like any mass-produced item, are subject to variables related to component and build quality, meaning that every vehicle has a chance of being recalled for a safety issue at some point.

But, as iSeeCars’ latest study reveals, the potential for a recall varies – quite dramatically – between models. iSeeCars analyzed vehicle recall campaign data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for models from the last 10 model years to calculate the number of projected recalls over an expected 30-year lifespan.

The overall average for lifetime projected recalls across all makes and models is 4.0. The least-recalled cars average one projected recall or less; conversely, the most recalled car, Tesla’s Model Y, was projected to have more than 62 recalls. As a brand, Mercedes-Benz has nine models making the list of the least recalled cars, while Porsche and Tesla each have four of the most recalled models. But note that Tesla’s entire model line occupies four of the top five most recalled vehicles.

“Recall rates can vary between makes and models,” said iSeeCars’ Executive Analyst Karl Brauer, “but the extreme variation in the number of recalls a car is projected to receive over its lifetime is something we didn’t expect. For consumers who don’t want to deal with a recall, the top models offer a substantially lower risk than even average models, such as the Chevrolet Equinox or Honda Ridgeline, with four predicted lifetime recalls. Avoiding a recall by owning a highly rated model, like the Hyundai Elantra GT or Mercedes CLA, means less time spent scheduling a dealer visit, taking the vehicle in, and waiting for repairs to be made.”

The 33 Least Recalled Cars

The 33 cars to make the least recalled list are projected to experience 1 or fewer recalls over the course of their lifespan. Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Toyota are the most prominent brands, but a wide spectrum of models from Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Lincoln, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, also make an appearance, with the top spot going to the Mini Convertible. Buyers seeking a model with a low recall rate have plenty of choices, while brands like Mercedes and Toyota have strong reputations for quality, and this list backs up their brand image.

Models with the Fewest Safety Recalls – iSeeCars Study

rank

Model

Expected 30-yr Lifetime Recalls

Compared to Overall Average

1

MINI Convertibles

0.2

0.05x

2

Lexus NX 300h

0.3

0.08x

3

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

0.5

0.13x

4

Mercedes-Benz CLA

0.5

0.13x

5

Lexus RX 450h

0.5

0.13x

6

Nissan 370Z

0.5

0.13x

7

Hyundai Elantra GT

0.6

0.15x

8

Mercedes-Benz GLA

0.6

0.15x

9

Mercedes-Benz GLC

0.7

0.18x

10

Lexus IS 300

0.7

0.18x

11

Mercedes-Benz GLE

0.7

0.18x

12

Ford Fusion Energy

0.7

0.18x

13

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT

0.7

0.18x

14

Mazda CX-3

0.7

0.18x

15

Lexus ES 300h

0.8

0.20x

16

Kia Rio 5-Door

0.8

0.20x

17

Lexus RC 350

0.8

0.20x

18

Mercedes-Benz GLB

0.9

0.23x

19

Infiniti QX50

0.9

0.23x

20

Chevrolet TrailBlazer

0.9

0.23x

21

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

0.9

0.23x

22

Ford Fusion Hybrid

0.9

0.23x

23

Mercedes-Benz GLS

0.9

0.23x

24

Nissan Titan XD

0.9

0.23x

25

Lexus IS 350

1.0

0.25x

26

Mini Clubman

1.0

0.25x

27

Mitsubishi Mirage G4

1.0

0.25x

28

Toyota Prius Prime

1.0

0.25x

29

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

1.0

0.25x

30

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

1.0

0.25x

31

Toyota Camry Hybrid

1.0

0.25x

32

FIAT 500X

1.0

0.25x

33

Infiniti Q60

1.0

0.25x

Overall Average

4.0

The 25 Most Recalled Cars

The 25 most recalled cars are projected to have at least 10 recalls over a 30-year lifespan, with Tesla and Porsche models appearing on the list four times each. Thankfully, Tesla’s ability to enact over-the-air (OTA) updates suggests at least some portion of its recalls won’t involve service center visits. BMW and Jeep make the list three times, while Ford, Lincoln, Ram and Volkswagen show up twice. Chevrolet and Kia each have one model on the list.

Models with the Most Safety Recalls – iSeeCars Study

rank

Model

Expected 30-yr Lifetime Recalls

Compared to Overall Average

1

Tesla Model Y

62.4

15.60x

2

Porsche Panamera

61.8

15.45x

3

Tesla Model 3

56.8

14.2x

4

Tesla Model X

27.3

6.83x

5

Tesla Model S

26.4

6.60x

6

Lincoln Aviators

23.0

5.75x

7

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

22.4

5.60x

8

Volkswagen Atlas

20.8

5.20x

9

Ram 1500

20.5

5.13x

10

Ram 1500 Classic

20.5

5.13x

11

Ford F-150

16.9

4.23x

12

Porsche Macan

16.1

4.03x

13

Porsche Cayenne

15.6

3.90x

14

Kia Telluride

14.4

3.60x

15

Porsche 911

13.0

3.25x

16

Lincoln Corsairs

12.7

3.18x

17

BMW X7

12.4

3.10x

18

Ford Explorer

11.8

2.95x

19

BMW 3 Series

11.7

2.93x

20

BMW 5 Series

10.7

2.68x

21

Jeep Grand Cherokee

10.4

2.60x

22

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

10.4

2.60x

23

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

10.2

2.55x

24

Subaru Ascent

10.1

2.53x

25

Jeep Wranglers

10.0

2.50x

Overall Average

4.0

What About Over-the-Air Updates and Safety Recalls?

Are OTA (over-the-air) recalls really recalls if they don’t require a dealership or service center visit? How serious could an OTA issue really be?

Even though safety recalls that have OTA fixes are more convenient to repair, it should be noted that all safety recalls are issued for the same reason: The NHTSA’s analysis of the vehicle issue identified a safety-related defect that violates its vehicle safety standards and needs to be addressed.

The following data shows the top 25 rankings for projected lifetime safety recalls, excluding recalls repaired with OTA updates, to give owners and shoppers a sense of which models require the most dealership visits to address recalls:

Models with the Most Safety Recalls, Excluding Over-the-Air (OTA) Repairs – iSeeCars Study

rank

Model

Expected 30-yr Lifetime Recalls, Excluding OTA Recalls

Compared to Overall Average

1

Porsche Panamera

61.6

16.21x

2

Lincoln Aviators

23.5

6.18x

3

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

22.7

5.97x

4

Volkswagen Atlas

20.9

5.5x

5

Ram 1500 Classic

20.9

5.5x

6

Ram 1500

20.8

5.47x

7

Tesla Model Y

19.3

5.08x

8

Ford F-150

16.8

4.42x

9

Porsche Macan

16.5

4.34x

10

Porsche Cayenne

16.5

4.34x

11

Tesla Model 3

15.2

4.00x

12

Kia Telluride

15

3.95x

13

Porsche 911

13.2

3.47x

14

Lincoln Corsairs

12.7

3.34x

15

BMW X7

12.5

3.29x

16

BMW 3 Series

12.2

3.21x

17

Ford Explorer

11.8

3.11x

18

Subaru Ascent

10.9

2.87x

19

BMW 5 Series

10.8

2.84x

20

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

10.5

2.76x

21

Jeep Wranglers

10.5

2.76x

22

Jeep Grand Cherokee

10.4

2.74x

23

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

10.3

2.71x

24

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

10.2

2.68x

25

Kia Sorento

9.6

2.53x

Overall Non-OTA Average

3.8

Tracking Recalls Over Time

iSeeCars.com Car Recall Study Chart

iSeeCars.com Car Recall Study Chart

In the graph above three curves are plotted for three representative vehicles: the Nissan 370Z, representing low recall rate vehicles; the Toyota Camry, representing average recall rate vehicles; and the Tesla Model S, representing high recall rate vehicles. Each curve shows the average number of recall campaigns per year over the first 10 years of these three vehicles’ lifespans.

“There are two critical components to think about when analyzing recalls,” said Brauer. “Obviously the number of recall campaigns is the first factor, but the timing of the campaigns is also important. Most vehicles behave like the Toyota Camry–most of their recalls were issued when they were first introduced, with a rapid decline after 1-3 years. But some cars, like the Tesla Model S, see a pattern of ongoing recalls, or even an increasing number of recalls, as time passes. Owners of vehicles with that pattern will continue to face recall hassles for years after they acquire their car.”

For more information on NHTSA recalls, and to check for any open recalls on a specific model, visit them website. Recall repairs are free for car owners (other than the time they take to resolve), and should be addressed to ensure the vehicle is operating safely. Sadly, only about a quarter of the vehicles involved in a recall are ever repaired due to low consumer action on this issue.

More from iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com Recall Ratings for Every Brand

Latest Industry Recall Statistics

Methodology

iSeeCars analyzed vehicle safety recall campaigns as of April 7, 2023 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for cars from model years 2014-2023. The number of campaigns for each model was aggregated and projected for an expected 30-year lifespan, taking into account the overall behavior of the automaker and when each recall campaign was issued in the car’s lifetime. The resulting estimates were then used to rank models with the fewest and most expected safety recalls. Heavy-duty vehicles, low-volume models, and models discontinued prior to the 2020 model year were excluded from further analysis.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a data-driven car search and research company that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, including the iSeeCars VIN Check report and Best Cars Rankings . iSeeCars.com has saved users over $382 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.

This article, Tesla has the Syndicated Article Tesla Has the Most Projected Lifetime Recalls, Mercedes and Toyota the Least, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.